Pokies proposal

 The Monbulk community can have its say on a proposal for more pokies at the Monbulk Bowling Club.

At its Tuesday 14 May meeting, Yarra Ranges Council moved to start work on a social and economic impact assessment (SEIA) to “determine either the net benefit or net detriment of the application to the local community”.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) notified the council of the Monbulk Bowling Club (MBC) application to increase its electronic gaming machines (EGMs) from 30 to 40.

The council has commissioned an initial SEIA that will examine the Monbulk community’s characteristics and inform a full SEIA, due for endorsement at the 11 June council meeting.

Community feedback will also inform the council’s SEIA.

The Victorian Local Governance Association will facilitate workshops at the Monbulk Living and Learning Centre at 2pm and 6pm on Wednesday 22 May.

Attendees will learn more about the application and the process of making a submission.

The full MBC application can be viewed on the VCGLR website.

In it, the club said the boost in machines would allow it to employ two new casual workers and bring in about $182,216 extra revenue in the first 12 months of operation.

“However in the applicant’s own SEIA the amount of $499,770 revenue in the first year is cited,” a council report said.

Over the past three years, total EGM losses at MBC have risen by 13.3 per cent, from $1.62 million in 2014-‘15 to $1.84 million in 2017-‘18.

It’s the only EGM venue in Monbulk, which has a population of 3700 people.

In 2016-‘17 the daily losses from EGM gambling in Yarra Ranges were about $79,000.

The application said that 64 per cent of the additional revenue was proposed to be transferred from other venues.

The club estimated an extra 500 patrons would use the venue if its application was successful.

Proposed $1.7 million in renovations to the club are contingent on the application’s outcome.

For more information on the workshops and to RSVP, email rose@vlga.org.au or call Rose O’Leary on 9349 7999.